Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Year-end Review

It has been a busy year & I have a tall pile of quilts to show for it.


I ticked off quite a few of the to-dos from my January list. Let's see, I finished 8 quilts that have remained in-house & 5 quilts for donation. There were 2 tops finished -- I'm quilting one now, 1 stack of blocks ready to go together & 4 small tops for donation to finish. (I wish I had kept track of how many yards of Kona Snow I used! 2 finished quilts & 2 quilts-in-progress have all used it -- I guess I was something of a Snow Plow. :-}) There were 2 mini swaps for HMQG, 5 Jane Market Bags -- 4 given away, 1 kept & 4 zipper pouches -- 3 given away, 1 kept. Well, phew! 

I'm now thinking about my list for the coming year. Do you make Quilt-y Resolutions? I've been doing so for a long time, before I started sharing them with my on-line friends. They used to be shorter & less specific than they are now -- "log cabin" vs "x & + blocks using black & white prints & solids (blues?)". But at the top of my list for 2013 -- & all my lists in the future -- will be: Relax, Enjoy the Process. Because I don't really think I enjoyed all my finishes this year. With each one, I was mentally on to the next project rather than just enjoying the one just done. It was more about checking them off than about loving what I love most in the world to do -- QUILTING!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Measuring my days

For some time I've been trying to remember a quote, I'm pretty sure my Mom read it to me. Not so long ago, I could have called her & asked, "What's that quote? Something about counting days with spoons?" & she would have told me what it was.

No more.

So I typed 'counting days in teaspoons' into an Internet search -- no luck. There was a small ping in my head that said the author of the quote was T.S. Eliot. So I tried 't.s. eliot quotes' & there it was: "I have measured out my life in coffee spoons." (I was kind of close.) I'm not sure of the intended meaning, but I am drawing a parallel with the spools I've emptied this year -- measuring out my life in empty spools.

a measured year

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Last finish of the year

And just in time for cold weather -- well, cold for us.

This little quilt --  in spite of all the stars, it just isn't very stellar, in spite of all the birds, it just hasn't got wings. I guess I'll say it has a Good Personality!

I loved the 2.5 inch rolls from Connecting Threads; I have loved for a very long time the fabric I used on the back; I was eager to try making a jelly roll race quilt; this was my first time to attempt the walking foot quilted braids. But sometimes the product is less than the sum of the parts. It was fun to make & quilt though, & it will still keep us warm even if it won't be winning any beauty contests.

starry jelly rolls

starry jelly roll & back

And it is starting to grow on me. :-)

Monday, December 03, 2012

Busy weekend

Some cutting & playing.

wheelchair lap quilts to-be

Some quilting.

nearly finished braids

Some basting.

lighting on a sunny day

And thinking about this.

antique i am obsessing about

Monday, November 26, 2012


Boy! I earned this finish!
It began innocently enough -- the Low Volume QAL. A perfect opportunity, I thought,  to use up some of the box of scraps left over from several braid quilts I made a few years ago. I dug out the box, sorted some of the pale, swirly, seashell-y, text-y prints, cut them into squares....then, what?

I got out one of my sketchbooks. I hope you have one of these. I have 2 & am nearly ready for a 3rd. I LOVE my sketchbooks! They are filled with drawings & clippings & printouts. They go everywhere with me! Well, I looked through one of them & found this:

idea book

Looked like fun, though unfortunately, I used up more Kona Snow than I did scraps from the box. {oh well} The piecing was easy, just squares; the setting together just a bit more challenging.
But the quilting -- again, not complicated -- wobbly walking foot straight lines & free-motion in-the-ditch around the patchwork. It was just the mass of the thing & working on it at a diagonal. THAT was WORK!!! I began referring to this quilt as The Monster, but I think I will name it "Stairs".


 stairs, quilting & back

Pippa is always a Big Help when I quilt, but she seemed especially fond of this quilt. Maybe she knew that the colors were quite becoming to her.

pippa & stairs

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What to do first?

After the Quilt Festival, I was -- & remain -- starry-eyed with the wonderful experience of seeing beautiful quilts, beautiful fabrics & talking to talented people. I was so full of ideas & idea fragments that my mind was bouncing around like a pinball! I had to force myself to be practical & focus first on what was on the downhill-side of being finished: finishing up some lap robes for the HMQG charity sewing & quilting my low volume quilt.

Done & getting done!

wheelchair lap quilts

low volume quilting w: paws

Friday, November 09, 2012

Where did the month go?!?

I know exactly where my month went:

First, there was 2 weeks of an all-hands-on-deck, mad house, work-a-thon at my job -- 8 to 12 hour days straight through (we did get Sunday off) slaying mastodons with our atlatls.

 Just another day fighting the wooly mammoths.

Not really, *that* exhibit was installed months ago, we were on to the next thing. :-)

After the paid work was over, I needed to do some serious house-cleaning for house-guests coming for Quilt Festival. I know you know what I'm talking about -- the sort of cleaning you only do when you are expecting company. I was sure my company wouldn't notice, or care if they did, but I felt better knowing it was done.

louis enjoying a rarely made bed
Louis says, "Food Lady, this is nice! You should make the beds more often."

I did nearly no sewing. All I did was finish my HMQG logo colors mini challenge & made a few more zipper pouches for gifts. (I think I'm beginning to feel more confident about my zippers.)

 hmqg logo colors mini challenge

 i've conquered the zipper pouch

Then the 2 house-guests arrived -- a quilter friend from France & my MIL. And Quilt Festival!!! An exhausting good time! This year, I really enjoyed looking at the antique & vintage quilts being sold -- I even came home with one!

awesome antique & vintage quilts

the quilt i bought

In spite of an oath with myself not to get any fabric, I managed to come home with some: a stack of Grunge, some vintage bits, plus some other pieces. 

 festival fabric haul

Next, a trip to the airport with one departing guest & a route home over a very attractive bridge.

fred hartman bridge

Then, relaxing bay-side with the remaining guest.

bay side

Then it was just me & Shug, tired, but with pleasant memories of the last week.
And did I mention that my quilt was hanging at the Quilt Festival!?!

my quilt at the quilt festival

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Weekend Update

I didn't have the weekend I thought I would, the weekend I *hoped* I would.

It was my first weekend at home after my trip to visit my Mom & I was finally starting to feel well after a 3-week cold. I wanted to sew, I wanted to relax, I wanted to indulge. Instead, I spent much of the weekend emailing back & forth on Guild bidness. Have you ever noticed that when you are dealing with people, you have to deal with personalities? What's up with that?!? Anyway, a group of awesome women & I did some important work for our Guild & if I may say so, we did a pretty good job. And the weekend wasn't all tense shoulders & typing!

I nearly finished my HMQG logo colors mini challenge (say THAT 3 times, real fast), all done except the handwork -- but I can't show it to you yet.

I made another Jane Market Bag as a gift for house-guests here for Quilt Festival.

another jane market bag

I basted my low volume quilt -- I'm only 90% happy with this one. Had I realized how big it would be I would have made the design element larger. (The cans of tuna were for ballast, it was windy when I was basting.)

basting -- with tuna

And Shug & I went to Big Lots for our very first time. Shug has been eating the breakfast cereal, Product 19, for about 25 years. It had disappeared from all our grocery stores some time ago. He had signed up for a sort of 'cereal subscription' from Amazon -- every month a box of 4 boxes would automatically arrive at the door. Then that stopped. The End of the Product 19 Era!!! But his Mom found some at a Big Lots in the Kansas City area, so we searched out a local Big Lots & came home with 8 boxes to help postpone the Era's end for a little while.

product 19

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Home, sweet home

I'm back after a trip north to see my Mom. (Just FYI, her condition is little changed since I was there last, though she seems to be less & less connected to what is going on around her, more inside herself.)

As usual, my trip was bracketed with stays with MIL. It had been in the 90s when I left Houston & while I *meant* to put in things like socks & long-sleeved shirts, they did not actually make it into my suitcase. This wasn't a problem until the last few days of my trip when freezing temps were expected. So she & I had a day of shopping & I got myself a few things to see me through. Then we went to an awesomely brilliant, totally fun shop that I had read about in Generation Q magazine: Fabric Recycles! It is a crafters' resale shop! (Houston entrepeneurs, are you paying attention?!?! We need one here!!!) They have everything: thread, yarn, buttons, zippers, patterns, books, trims & a heaping table labeled "Started, Not Finished"-- exactly what it sounds like -- UFOs finding new homes. Oh, & yes, they have fabric, lots of fabric, all measured & neatly bundled & sorted by color. For some reason, that day I was attracted to these old-school, bright calicos. I am thinking about using them in a trendy, modern pattern like wonky crosses or maybe just squares, or triangles, hmm, right or isoseles? With lots of white I think.....

fabric recycles

welcoming petunias



my calicos

Monday, October 01, 2012

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Note to self:

The next time you work hard on a project & really pull out the stops -- especially if the project is for a contest -- say, for example, the Modern Quilt Guild's QuiltCon block challenge -- read the directions more carefully.

the block

It says "avoid appliqué" -- 3 flowers, 4 stems, 24 (!) leaves -- it is pretty much ALL appliqué!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I saw the space shuttle, Endeavour!


Shug & I live about 10 minutes away from the facility to whom Jim Lovell was speaking when he said, "Houston, we have a problem." Our area is full of people who work, directly or indirectly, for the space industry. So when we learned that the space shuttle, Endeavour, would be making a stop here on her final trip to the west coast, we figured we would join the crowd of locals going to see it.


There wasn't a 'crowd' -- there were hoards, throngs, thousands & thousands of people that were not just 'local' but had driven hours, some even flew in! We left work a little early -- to get a jump on the crowd -- wink, wink. We spent about 2 to 2.5 hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic arriving at & leaving the airfield. But we also spent about 45 minutes walking around  & seeing the shuttle. It was worth every minute: seeing that amazing ship, being among all the people saying good-bye to it & good-bye to an era, an era meaningful to the country, but especially meaningful Houston.


this is the place

we're getting close

that's her!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Close, but no cigar...yet.

Pretty enough -- from a distance,


certainly functional,

hmmm, not so good

but it doesn't stand up to close inspection.

oh, ick

I messed up the corners where the zipper end covers are. I already had to do some un-picking from this coarsely woven Echino & didn't want to attempt more so I opted for a Quick & Dirty fix & just zigzagged over the ends. The next one will be better -- I promise!

Sunday, September 09, 2012

I'm sewing cats & dogs.

I had kind if a hellish week at work -- long days of hard & stressful work. By the weekend, I was sore & cranky & tired & ready for some rejuvenating time with my fabric & sewing machine.

I had promised some blocks to Tonya at  Lazy Gal Quilting & made some Kitty Love blocks. I used the method from her book Word Play Quilts & added a representation of her dear Pokey. (I had some help from Pippa.)

kitty blocks

pippa & kitty block

I finished this tote a while ago but didn't want to show it off until its new owner received it. Those are her pups, Frankie & Piper (cute girls!).

2 sides of pup tote

And it has occurred to me that I have a couple of swaps & prizes that I never showed off -- shame on me!

Here's the bag made for me by Jacey in the HMQG scrap swap back in January -- love it! It is always filled with projects & has done quite a bit of traveling. Thanks, Jacey!

scrap tote from jacey

In May, I won the 12 in '12 link-up from Liz at Fat Chick Quilts. I got this pair of adorable little purses. I'm still trying to decide what special treasures they will hold, until then I just enjoy looking at them. Thanks, Liz!


Monday, September 03, 2012

Streak of Lightning QAL -- Peakies & Dippies

That is what I've started calling the block pair that make up this quilt: Peakies & Dippies.

The Peakies are the ones that have the upward part of the lightning bolt -- the peak -- on the bottom of the block; the Dippies have the downward part of the bolt -- the dip -- on the bottom.

Oh well, it makes sense to me.

My top may be done, though I am toying with the idea of adding another row on one side, just to make it a bit wider -- it would better fit the guest bed that way, maybe even Shug's & my bed. Either way -- more piecing or layering to quilt -- I think I'm going to let it rest for a while before I move ahead.

Laura's Lightning

Back-lit Laura's Lightningg

I *might* rest too!

p.s. I've been saving the scraps from these blocks, thinking about Beth's Dump and Sew project. Now this method really scares me! I am not a natural at this kind of quilt-making, but I want to try spreading my wings, so I'll give it a go!